Cockburn was thrilled to see the New York Times take an interest in The Spectator last weekend, after the paper published an article about our London office’s ‘incestuous ties’ with the governing elite. Amazing that during a global pandemic and nationwide rioting, the NYT saw fit to dedicate few inches on page A8 to a political adviser on a northern European island. ‘Rogue Trip by Boris Johnson Aide Makes U.K.’s Spectator Part of the Story’, declared the headline. At least that was the revised headline — the first suggested, erroneously, that The Spectator was in ‘turmoil.’ The Spectator may be in many things, but turmoil isn’t one of them.
The Gray Lady isn’t known for its fair-mindedness these days. But its coverage of the Speccie was surprisingly reasonable. The authors of the story described our fine publication — which happens to be 23 years older than the NYT — as ‘at once high-minded and playful, conservative and louche.’ They added: ‘The Spectator occupies a peculiar niche in British media.’
Cockburn won’t argue with that — even if that assessment is a little out of date. He did however take issue with the claim that we are ‘a serious professional operation pretending to be a bunch of champagne dilettantes’ — even if it did come from James Kirkup, a regular contributor. The truth is more the other way around, as James knows well.
It was odd, however, that, in a 1,263-word article, the Times neglected to mention the Speccie’s new expansion into America. All the news that’s fit to print, eh?